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Johnsburg looks for balance in growth

JOHNSBURG Development in the town of Johnsburg is pushing a small-town board to tackle complex issues that are more commonly associated with large municipalities, board members say, putting the board in the position of making decisions that will shape the nature and character of Johnsburg for decades to come.

This is complex stuff, Board Member Goodspeed said during a recent interview. And its important stuff.

Front Street, Top Ridge, Tall Timbers, Peaceful Valley, the list goes on. Close to 1,000 new housing units are proposed or in development for the Town of Johnsburg, offering the potential for a deep and inexorable impact on the town and its residents.

Board members often find themselves attempting to balance the towns need for economic growth with the need to protect the character and quality of life that attracts people who choose to live in Johnsburg. Add to that the boards fiduciary responsibility to protect taxpayer interests, and it can be a daunting task.

A discussion at the May 15 meeting of the Johnsburg Town Board was typical the type of dialogue that might cause the casual observers eyes to glaze over. The subject was water a familiar topic to this board of late as several large development proposals work their way through the approval process. The terms were technical and sprinkled with acronyms.

When the dust had settled at the end of the evening, the board had come to two tentative agreements -- both fairly complex -- for two different projects, both of them dealing with water.

From demands on the water system to the need for fire protection to added wear and tear on the towns roads, proposed development in the town promises to stress town resources. Town officials are responding by attempting to pass along the costs associated with that added stress to the project developers.

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